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Paint Fox, Flamenco (Read 4186 times)
Jan 29th, 2005 at 7:23pm

LaurieP   Offline
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Copious notes precede these artnotes.  Like a mad Colombo, I jot things down in 3 x 5 inch wire bound notebooks -- my problem is I don't have just one, but dozens.  At the end of the week it takes a concentrated effort and deep cleaning to unearth the thoughts of the week.

It was freezing in Paris most of this week, and my wish for snow came true in the form of light flakes over a two day period.  Not the stuff of snowballs or snowmen:  in fact, you might not have even noticed it if you weren't out on the street.  A solid dowsing of rain followed, as we picked our way to numerous rendezvous' through a sea of umbrellas.

We have become more and more "French" of late, and my adored state of exile has given way to cocktail parties and dinner invitations.  Human companionship is what we all strive for, but it clouds my perception of life.   We don't have a TV, because of its affect on us, but it is harder to turn off friendship.  The TV has no feelings.

We offer certain exotica to a party, but sometimes I just can't perform.   We were to meet a sinologue at this venue.  When I met him, I couldn't talk about going to China.  "Why do you want to go?" he asked.  "Because I want to be anonymous, to drop out, to not know what people are talking about.  I like observing from outside, especially things new."  Wrong answer.   I used to tell people I wanted to join the French foreign legion, and in effect, we did.  Alexandria now holds great allure;  I read Lawrence Durrell.

Champagne better suits than red wine for rosy cheeks and sparkling conversation.  After two glasses of red wine the conversation slipped to TV shows, and I slipped into catatonia.  We ate potatoes and salt cod in black bowls -- a recalling of our hostess's mother and the dish she used to cook.  We were the youngest at the small party, all others retired and "doing nothing".  I want to help out in the kitchen or build a puzzle.  Those things are never done here.

The sinologue, a man I will never see again, is a Canadian transplant to Paris, some thirty years ago.  When I tried to explain the squeak of snow to the rest of the party, he recalled winter in Ottawa, the brilliant light of the local hockey rinks illuminating his trip home on the train.  To see the beauty in the everyday is what we strive for; to hear it from someone else is almost as good.

The man who used to live in our apartment was a poet, who wrote speeches for deGaulle.  He installed the bookcases in our apartment, and filled them with French literature.  Today they are home to dishes and butterflies; I write artnotes, and not with such ease.

At the restaurant this week, we met two "mad" scientists -- a Russian-American astronomer and a retired physics professor.  They were in hot pursuit of "meridians" -- the placement of markers to denote the north/south direction from the early days of surveying.  Two large stones, placed 100 meters apart, allowed surveyors to adjust their compasses to the "true" north.  Such a Meridian Lane exists in Barnstable, Massachusetts.  These local meridian lines were set according to the stars:  the days before GPS.  France preceded the US in surveying, but the two Americans found no traces of local meridians here.  On a larger scale, Paris was once on the zero meridian; in 1884, it was moved to Greenwich, England.  Paris didn't admit this until 1911.

The heat is turned to its highest setting in our apartment.  The radiator bangs like a woman crossing the courtyard in high heels.  It speeds up and she breaks into a run, as if being chased.   

To find the beauty in the everyday is a wonderful treat.  You just have to be in the right place.


Laurie (painting and text) and Blair PESSEMIER
"Flamenco" acrylique on board 9 x 12"
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